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🧸 Kidults, explained

The Hustle

Here’s a feel-good story: Kevin Ford was recently recognized at work with candy after not missing a day for 27 years. His daughter thought he deserved more and, with the internet’s help, she’s raised $340k+.

In today’s email:

  • Kidults: Who are they and what do they want?
  • Chart: Is email slowing us down?
  • Digits: Hummers, dog hotels, $1T gift cards, and more.
  • Around the web: The bikini’s origin, 67k product placements, a strange cake, and more cool internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s podcast to hear about the massive cult of teens that went bananas over a hilarious meme and helped Minions: The Rise of Gru break box office records over the weekend.

The big idea
adult playing with toys

The rise of the ‘kidult’

Do you love board game nights, going to Disneyland without kids, and watching teen dramas on The CW? Then you might be a kidult.

The term dates back to the 1950s when the TV industry used it to describe adults who enjoyed youthful programming, like “The Adventures of Sir Lancelot” (TBH, 100% would watch).

Today’s kidults — and their adult paychecks — are driving demand for nostalgia and play as they revel in the pastimes and culture of their youth.

And they love toys

A 2021 Toy Association Survey found that 58% of adult respondents had purchased a toy for themselves, per Bloomberg. Of those:

  • 65% purchased board games
  • 61% bought craft or building kits
  • 53% threw down on collectibles
  • 52% got into video games

Makes sense. Who among us has never wanted to unwind over some “Dungeons & Dragons” while wearing a DIY bedazzled denim vest?

The trend is also leading brands to release toys geared toward adults, like grown-up-sized Razor scooters, artsy Lego sets, and a $105 Barbie dressed like David Bowie.

  • On TikTok, #AdultMoney videos of adults buying toys for themselves, “and having zero regrets about it,” have nearly 4B views.

But this isn’t entirely a new thing

Adult coloring books boomed in 2015, selling 12m copies compared to 1m the year prior.

Funko Pops launched in 1998 with a bobblehead of the Big Boy mascot. Now it’s worth $1.15B, selling pop culture dolls.

The figures appeal to all ages, but many — e.g., Beetlejuice or Britney Spears — likely resonate most with the adults who grew up with them. Others just aren’t for kids, like, uh, this bloody Hannibal Lecter doll.

Trends also recently found several opportunities based on increased interest in kid-stuff-but-for-adults:

  • Google searches for adult bounce houses are up 87%
  • Goodles — a food company making healthier versions of kids’ meals — recently raised $10m and gets ~80k website visits/mo.

BTW: If this has you feeling young at heart, perhaps what you need is an adult summer camp.

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Do you pay or collect rent? The rental market’s gone bonkers this year, and we want to hear from you about it. If you have a few minutes, please fill out our survey.

RadioShack’s… reinvention? The 100-year-old electronics retailer saw its brand reintroduced as a cryptocurrency company with a potty-mouthed Twitter account.

Google says it will start auto-deleting users’ location data from visits to potentially sensitive sites like abortion clinics, domestic violence shelters, and weight loss clinics.

Watch doctor: A new report speculates that the Apple Watch Series 8 will be able to detect fevers through a body temperature sensor.

Update: FTX signed an agreement to purchase crypto lender BlockFi for up to $240m. A previous report pegged the purchase price at $25m.

Equal treatment: Playing favorites with your employees may foster discontent and unhealthy competition in the workplace. Check out the Hustle blog for how to spot and combat the practice.

Refreshing: Coca-Cola and EDM artist Marshmello have teamed up on a limited-edition strawberry and watermelon soda as part of Coke’s Creations line. #ecommerce-retail

Tesla’s latest software update includes a “Comfort” feature that scans for potholes and adjusts suspension on bumpy roads — but it doesn’t work with Autopilot or Full Self-Driving. #emerging-tech

The British Army’s YouTube and Twitter accounts were hacked to promote crypto scams. Both accounts have been restored, but the culprits remain unknown. #privacy

Bummer: Chevy’s first NFT came with a free 2023 Corvette Z06. However, no one bid on it when it went up for auction. #fintech-crypto

TTFN: Meta is shutting down Novi, its crypto wallet pilot, on Sept. 1, though it may repurpose the tech for future metaverse projects. #big-tech

negotiating a sales strategy email vs in-person

Singdhi Sokpo

A new study highlights how face-to-face trumps email

Many of us have probably had the thought: “That could’ve been an email.”

But a series of recent studies build a compelling case that some emails should, in fact, be meetings, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Researchers at Florida International University…

… arranged four experiments where they split participants into two groups. The first group performed tasks in person, while the second performed the same tasks over email.

  • The email group took 20 minutes to arrive at a sales strategy that took the face-to-face group six minutes.
  • Email participants also performed worse on a variety of ensuing tasks, from spotting grammar errors to deciphering logic problems.

The big takeaway? Email is best for simple tasks — but when things get complicated, it exacerbates the problem.

How can you prevent email paralysis?

Dr. Ravi Gajendran, author of the study, says regular meetings can help reduce the risk of getting stuck in endless email threads.

Great, so more meetings.

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By the Numbers

Digits: Hummers, dog hotels, and $1T gift cards

1) Months after starting deliveries, GM is reportedly churning out just 12 Hummer EVs a day, though that’s expected to drastically increase. Also last week, Tesla reported delivering 254,695 vehicles in Q2, slightly below expectations but up 26.5% YoY.

2) Over 23m US homes welcomed a pet during the pandemic, and now dog boarding companies like Camp Bow Wow are seeing bookings up 29% from 2019 levels. Prices for boarding are reportedly up 10%-15% in the same time.

3) This year, more than $1T will be loaded onto gift cards. Companies normally keep the “breakage” from “open loop” cards — the ones that work like debit cards and sometimes expire before users spend the whole amount. In 2020, firms banked $14B+ through this process.

4) In 2024, Air New Zealand plans to debut “Skynest,” an economy section with two rows of triple stacked bunk pods. The lie-flat pods might suit customers on the carrier’s 17-hour Auckland-to-New York flight debuting this fall.

5) A new report found the cities with the most significant rent decreases in June included Tallahassee, FL (-6.5%), Anchorage, AK (-6.2%), and Honolulu, HI (-6.1%). On the other end, Norfolk, VA (+6.4%) and Fresno, CA (+6.3%) saw the biggest jumps.

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👙 On this day: In 1946, French fashion designer Louis Réard and showgirl Micheline Bernardini introduced the bikini at a Paris pool. He named the new swimsuit style after the Bikini Atoll, where the US conducted an atomic test days prior.

🍔 That’s interesting: Product Placement Blog lists 67k+ product placements seen in movies, TV shows, and music videos.

🐎 That’s cool: The Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo is a Black rodeo that’s been going on for 35+ years. Bay Area photographer Gabriela Hasbun has spent 10+ years documenting it.

🎂 Wow: An odd yet very impressive cake.

🐿️ Aww: And now, Squishy’s back.

meeting meme

Unnecessary, Jim. (Source:

How did you like today’s email?
Today’s email was brought to you by Jacob Cohen, Juliet Bennett Rylah, and Rob Litterst.
Editing by: Jennifer “Proud kidult” Wang.

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